2013 Camden (Maine) House & Garden Tour Part 2

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

DSCN2640The Sortwell property in Camden contains everything that is beautiful about Maine gardens.

The 66th Annual Camden House and Garden Tour, which I attended in July, gave me a chance to admire up close a few of the many gorgeous gardens along the Maine coast  For photos of the Camden and Rockport, Maine, area and profiles of the first four gardens on the tour, read part 1 by clicking here.  I intended to include the final two gardens in this post, but even when pared down there were too many photos for one installment.  This post will focus on the classic Maine garden at the Sortwell residence.


DSCN2654The elegant garden shed at the other end of the property from the house.

The fifth garden on the tour was located within walking distance of downtown Camden.  The house is an 1860s cape, a style prevalent in New England.  The gardens surrounding the house suit the setting perfectly.  Large beds are filled with big stands of perennials and shrubs and partially covered by elegant shade trees.  A picturesque garden shed nestled at the opposite end of the property from the house provides a perfect focus for perennial beds.


DSCN2644The view from the house to the shed, as you can see the perennial border is huge.

I have mentioned on this blog many times how beautiful the summer gardens are in Maine, and this garden captures the essence of the coastal Maine gardening style.  I am not sure what makes the plants so big and beautiful.  It could be the cool but sunny and himidity-free weather.  Or the ocean breezes.  Or the relative (to Pennsylvania) lack of pests and diseases.  Whatever the secret is, here are more photos of this quintessential Maine garden for you to enjoy:








This was a very high quality tour, and I highly recommend that anyone in the area attend next year’s Camden House and Garden Tour on July 17, 2014.  Photos of the final garden on the tour will be in the next post.



Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed and will reopen in the fall around September 15. Have a great summer.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

21 Responses to “2013 Camden (Maine) House & Garden Tour Part 2”

  1. Wow is all I can think to say. So different from our shade gardens but oh so beautiful anyhow.

    • Corinne, The back of the property was wooded and there were some gardens, but my photos didn’t turn out because the light was so bright that day. Maine is much more open than PA because the soil/topography can’t support the mammoth trees that we have in the mid-Atlantic. There is a much greater sense of light and open space than I experience at home. Carolyn

  2. Lovely garden Carolyn… it would appear that you’ve been enjoying a wonderful summer!

  3. I loved your garden photos…I really love a lush county garden.

  4. I love the gardens and the views like these 🙂 Regards

  5. You say “dry” but many of the plants especially the hydrangeas are plants I think of as needing a lot of water. Was the garden irrigated or was the fact that you also said “cool” the secret to their growth? Christina

  6. Judith Spruance Says:

    Lovely pictures – gardens in Maine have better color too. It must be the clear northern light! It is likely the cool nights are a big factor in the plants’ health for they don’t exhaust themselves by metabolizing all night long like our middle Atlantic plants do in the hot humid nights we have. And the Maine days are longer too even if the season is shorter.

    • Judith, You are right, even when it gets to 90 degrees during the day it always cools off at night. Most days are in the 70s and nights require sweaters and long pants. Despite the cooler weather, the sun is more intense here than in Pennsylvania. When I was a child, sunscreen wasn’t really necessary in Maine, and now even the most heavy duty lotion does not keep you from getting color. Kind of scary because I don’t know what else it could be other than the hole in the ozone which I believe is up north. Carolyn

  7. What a pittoresque shed. It looks more like a little house.

  8. That is a very pretty property. The tour must be really worth the trip, glad you enjoyed the time inland.

  9. What a beautiful cottage style garden!

  10. I admire these wonderful summer gardens filled with perennials! There was a time I tried to grow such a garden here, but I soon learned that most perennials died or went dormant during our summers. So I am filled with a little garden envy. The garden shed with all those flowers in front is stunning.

  11. Thanks for taking us along. Do you think longer day length, compared to more southerly locations, would also play a role in how nice the gardens looked? Just grasping here in my fungus ridden, overgrown, weed-bound jungle of a garden.

    • Les, I got a good laugh out of your comment because that is exactly how I feel when I see these gardens that look so big, beautiful, healthy, and perfect—nothing like Pennsylvania or Virginia apparently. Yes, I think longer day length in the more intense but cooler sun has a lot to do with it. They aren’t just better gardeners in Maine are they? Carolyn

  12. I visit Maine every summer as well and always marvel at the exceptional beauty of their gardens. I was thinking this summer that it was because of their short growing season. That the plants somehow know they have a short time to “show off.” The comments on this post, however, provide more logical explanations. I also love how they use boulders in their landscaping. Wish I could bring some of the boulders back to Saint Louis with me!

  13. I really like this house and the shed…they have a perfect garden to highlight it all.

  14. hi, Very nice blog:)
    I am a new gardner and a new blogger myself, check out me blog.


    Any suggestions and feedback will be appreciative.

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